“Landscape with Questions” by Patrick Ryan Frank

Patrick Ryan Frank


Another minivan abandoned off
the off-ramp. Someone said I’ve had enough

and left, just left, and left the radio on
and singing baby, baby, you’re the one.

And who is that when there is no one there?
God, like everybody else, is scared

of everybody else, and trying to hide.
So smoke. So black-winged drones. So so much light

at such strange angles that make the empty hand
look full, look like a fist. Look out at the land.

It isn’t barren, so why does it feel so bare?
The churches are full of people, so are the bars—

the life’s work of the dead. So which lives matter?

Ask the glass and blacktop; you’ll get no answer.

Poets Respond
June 21, 2015


Patrick Ryan Frank: “Since Wednesday’s massacre at a South Carolina church, I’ve been trying to figure out what to say. I find that I’m asking myself the same questions I’ve been asking for too long, and I still don’t have any satisfying answers. So instead of addressing that attack or any other event directly—since I still can’t fully fathom it—I’m trying to look at the bigger, even stranger landscape in which it happened.” (website)

Rattle Logo